Want an easy beach getaway from Tokyo? Shonan is located about 30 minutes from Yokohama by train. There’s lots to do as you soak in the summer rays and spend time exploring the areas around the seacoast.
Shonan and Enoshima
Shonan is the area along Japan’s seacoast (Sagami Bay) in Kanagawa prefecture and about 30 minutes from Yokohama by train. The Shonan region includes Hiratsuka, Chigasaki, Fujisawa and Kamakura. There’s lots to do as you soak in the summer rays and spend time exploring the areas around the seacoast.
Enoshima Island is in the center of the Shonan region, a historic island, and very popular tourist destination. The area around the island has come to be referred to as Enoshima as well. The island has hiking trails, caves to explore, a garden, and delicious sweets and seafood.
What is so unique about the Shonan region culture? What is there to do, eat and see in Enoshima? This article is your guide to all things Shonan and Enoshima.
When you get off the train in Enoshima, you may notice the unique Shonan culture. It is not unusual to see surfboards next to houses and people in wetsuits or swimwear roaming the streets! In the summer, most locals will be wearing beach wear and sandals. The people seem more relaxed and laidback than people you’ll find in Tokyo. Head to the beach to enjoy the waves or get a tan. The beaches closest to Enoshima are Katase Higashihama and Katase Nishihama beaches. They are separated by the Enoshima Benten Bridge and Sakai River. During the summer, you may even see special sand sculptures being built along the Katase Nishihama Beach.
Right next to the Katase Nishihama Beach is the Enoshima Aquarium. Enjoy learning about marine life in this oceanside aquarium!
Enoden Train Line
The Enoshima Dentetsu, or Enoden for short, is an electric railway that runs along the coast from Fujisawa to Kamakura. Ride this train for ocean views. The stop “Kamakura Koukoumae” is known for its good view of Enoshima Island and occasionally Mount Fuji is visible as well. Visit this area at sunset if you have the time!
Wonder what those metal bars attached to bicycles are? They’re surfboard attachments. Want to watch the surfers or grab a bite to eat along the coast? There are many restaurants along the beaches with terrace seating and windows with ocean viewing. Surf Village is located at the far western end of Shonan Kaigan Park, where you’ll spot lots of surfers trying to catch a wave. I highly recommend the Shichirigahama area near the Enoden station “Kamakura Koukoumae” for great outdoor seating and good oceanviews. If you venture a bit further north, Inamuragasaki Beach is a nice area to watch surfers, and seems to be well-loved among the female surfing community.
Shonan is also known for fishing. Sagami Bay is home to about 1300 varieties of fish, and the small translucent colored shirasu is by far one of the most well-known in Shonan. Don’t be surprised to see “Fresh seafood” or “Shirasu specialty meals” on many signboards. I recommend Enoshima Koya for a seafood breakfast experience and check out their lunch special “Makanai don”! For a truly local experience, head to Koshigoe to get your 朝どれフライ (morning catch fry) where you can have fried fish freshly caught that morning!
Historic Enoshima Island
Make the most of a half-day or full-day on Enoshima Island by doing all the touristy things! There are many temples to visit and multiple escalators to get you up the hilly roads if you’re feeling tired or aren’t too much of a climber. As you enjoy the oceanviews on your hike up the mountain, stop for a bit at the cute little cafes and restaurants along the way. I highly recommend Enoshima Uomi-tei 魚見亭 or Enoshima Pancakes, which both have beautiful seating overlooking the sea! There’s even a spot called “Half-mountain” ふたつ山which is halfway through the island. And for a 360-degree view of the whole island and the beaches around, climb to the top of the Enoshima Sea Candle. On clear days, Mount Fuji may even be visible.
If you’re up for a bit of a trek at the edge of the island, head to the Enoshima Iwaya Caves, where you can wander caves created by erosion over thousands of years. These caves were designated a religious holy spot in about 552. Enoshima Shrine was originally enshrined in the caves, and there are still various Jizo statues remaining in the caves. On your visit, you’ll even be given a candle to walk through the dark caves. Before entering the second cave, enjoy your walk along the Iwaya Bridge, with a stunning view of the sea! You might even notice the Kame-Ishi (Turtle Rock) that is believed to have been carved by Kametaro Nakamura, a stonemason.
I highly recommend the French toast café located in Samuel Cocking’s Garden, Lon Café. If you’re not up for a full French toast, there’s always the French toast soft cream option, which is creamy and oh-so-delicious! But make sure to eat it quickly on hot days, or else the ice cream will come dripping down onto your hands and clothing